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NBA playoffs postponed for a second day

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27th August, 2020
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Playoff games in the NBA have been postponed for a second time but the league says it is hopeful player protests won’t be extended.

The NBA playoff games were postponed for a second day on Thursday, as players protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by a white police officer in Wisconsin.

The NBA confirmed that Thursday’s playoff games won’t be held, but the league said it hopes to resume them on Friday or Saturday.

NBA executive vice president Mike Bass said in a statement that players, owners and others would hold a video conference call later on Thursday to decide the next steps.

Earlier, multiple US media reports said that after a Thursday morning meeting among the remaining playoff teams in Orlando, Florida, players chose to end their action.

The walk-off began Wednesday with the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to play Game Five of their Eastern Conference first-round series against Orlando.

Other teams quickly joined the protest with support from coaches, referees, management, ownership and the league.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) postponed Thursday’s three scheduled games. It was not clear when games would resume. The WNBA also cancelled games on Wednesday.

The protest jeopardised the completion of the NBA season and was in response to Sunday’s shooting of Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 40 miles south of Milwaukee.

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The Bucks opted not to play Wednesday just 20 minutes before tip-off.

Two other NBA playoff games were quickly postponed, and the action Wednesday extended to other sports.

NBA referees marched peacefully through the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex Thursday morning.

Referee Marc Davis told the NBA’s website, “This isn’t about right versus left. This is about right versus wrong. It is about everybody vs racism.”

The player protests did not resonate in Washington.

Marc Short, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff, told CNN the protests were “absurd and silly,” adding: “I don’t think we care.”

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, said he would reach out to Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James but told broadcaster CNBC: “NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”

On Thursday, James tweeted: “Change doesn’t happen with just talk! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW!” 

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A meeting between players and owners is expected Thursday night.

President Donald Trump criticised what he described as the politicisation of the NBA and suggested that it was affecting their television ratings.

“I know their ratings have been very bad and that’s unfortunate. They’ve become like a political organisation and that’s not a good thing, for sports or the country,” Trump said on Thursday.

© AAP